Posts Tagged ‘email’

Perhaps the biggest accomplishment of American jurists has been reducing our vivid national tongue into an indecipherable mind-numbing wall of impenetrable boilerplate.  Which is a form of job-protection I guess but otherwise adds precious little in the way of common clarity and understanding.

A Question Regarding The Cloud

A Question Regarding The Cloud

I’ve been thinking about that ever since the improbably-named Twitter co-founder Biz Stone sent out a change of policy email to all account holders last week.  Given that it was couched in dense legalese, neither me nor you nor the overwhelming majority of account holders bothered to hack their way through that thicket of legal mumbo-jumbo detailing something as seemingly innocuous as a policy change.  So we don’t really know what we agreed to.

But happily, out amidst the vast resources of curious active minds brought together on the web, a few smart people have.  I am particularly grateful for this wonderfully-clarifying analysis and editorial from Simon Dumenco of Advertising Age.  It’s well worth a read.

Dumenco points out how amidst all the details and ‘whereby’s’, Stone buries the small but not insignificant fact that Twitter reserves the right to all of the content you generate on their service.  That’s right: ALL the content.

Those one-liners you send out everyday?  They’re yours, but Twitter can put them into a joke book and not owe you a penny.  That news you saw happening and described from your unique POV?  Twitter can aggregate it and sell it to any of the major news wires.  That novel you’ve been tweeting?  Those lyrics you’ve been half-crowdsourcing?  That witty bon mot about a current event?  Twitter owns them as much as you do, and can profit on them or resell them or license them to whomever they darn well please.

To most of us, the use of this service and the simple fact that we’re not likely to toss off too many intellectual pearls within 140 characters makes this a fair trade.  And given the sheer dunning weight of meaningless prattle on the service, that is not necessarily a reckless position.  It’s a stretch to consider “Man I need coffee” as Intellectual Property, let alone IP worth protecting.

Still, Twitter’s value lies in aggregation.  In aggregation of opinion, in aggregation of highly-defined target markets and perhaps soon, in aggregation of bite-sized content around themes or lifestyles or specific events.  Would anyone ever want to order a copy of The Twitter Guide To Exceptional Birthday Wishes from Amazon?

If it would come out and you did buy it, you might even find your ideas in it.  Whether you’d be credited, well, there are no guarantees about that…

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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Yesterday, my father-in-law forwarded me an email.  Jim forwards me a steady stream of all sorts of things: jokes and video clips, PowerPoints that showcase natural wonders and Christian or patriotic sentiment, and political screeds I dump without reading.  Overall, I enjoy getting these enough not to filter them out, because once I scroll past the half dozen or so forwards of mass e-mail lists, he sometimes turns up a real gem.  I checked this particular post on Snopes.com, and evidently, it’s legit.  Which in today’s fast-acting world, means bad news for Best Buy.picture-3

Under the title “Best Buy, My Foot,” an anonymous poster relates a lousy customer experience he had returning a GPS unit to the store.  The crux of his beef is that Best Buy has a policy of charging a 15% restocking fee, along with some other non-consumer friendly ancillary policies.  You can read a copy of the e-mail here.  

I don’t know if this particular effort caused any real damage to the company, but as someone who frequents that store, this e-mail made me pause.  Their policy does seem niggling, particularly the anything-but-transparent way they communicate these fees.  So in that sense, the anonymous poster did exact his revenge on the company: I will hesitate before making big purchases there in the future.  And up ’til now, I always liked Best Buy. 

This is what can happen when companies dis consumers who otherwise considered themselves gruntled.  This kind of thing happens in the modern age of widespread and convenient social media.  Anyone can take their beef to the web, and try to spread it under the universally admonishing subject line: “Important!  Forward This To Everyone You Know!”  People like my father-in-law will take them rather literally at that. 

And judging by the trail of forwards, so will a lot of others.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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Kashi has done an amazing job marketing their product, and those years of Kelloggs’ investments have paid off with serious growth in recent times.  The brand boasts a well-established brand story and message.  They seemed to really connect with their consumers.  Until now…

Today, a friend got this e-mail from the company…


“Keeping it real”?  Are they kidding?  They pull the plug on a site a considerable amount of people opted in on with nary a mention of why?  Sure, they offer an interesting and useful little app with their Ingredient Decoder, but every other part of this remarkably tin-eared email reads like you’re getting dumped via voicemail: it’s perfunctory and weasely.

Within hours, the company heard back from their community.  And apparently, their community took exception with Kashi corporate.  Six hours later, this email arrived under the Subject line “kashi.com – still going strong”:

picture-11No kidding they made an “Oops!”—and that line itself reads like another mistake, like something a child might say in reference to an unfortunate potty-training mishap.  Eww…   

This follow-up email was the right idea, but again, poorly executed.  Consumers weren’t told they were signing up for a ‘temporary website.’  For whatever reason, Kashi decided that for them, and tried to make good by passing this community off to an entirely corporate, barely-interactive kashi.com site: far less-engaging, far less two way communication, far less Web 2.0.

 I can’t say what happened here but I have a pretty good guess: this smells like internal gamesmanship, a change based on re-prioritizing investments or managers—and possibly even vendors.  It smacks of brand politics.

None of which means anything to their consumers.  A pity, that.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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